1. Hayden Smith
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    Hayden Smith New Member

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    Outsourcing recommendations?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Hayden Smith, Apr 26, 2013.

    Hi all,

    I've recently completed a novel which I plan to self-publish as an ebook in the near-future. I've started this thread to seek recommendations for outsourcing the pre-publication phases (copyediting, jacket design, formatting etc.). I have between 1-2k to commit to this venture, and am based in Scotland, so would prefer UK freelancers.

    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Hi Hayden,

    You don't want people to start firing out recommendations, because frankly they don't have enough info yet. What genre are you looking to have edited? Macro level editors are like doctors: They're specialists. Someone who edits genre "A" really well, might not edit genre "B" very well. Copyeditors are a bit different in that they're generallylooking for violations of CMoS or Mirriam Websters. But you still want experience. Artists are the same, and while I totally get wanting to work with an editor familiar with your brand of English, I personally would not limit myself with regards to artists.

    I just put out a title on my own, and am in the process of doing it for book 2 in the series. I spent months looking for editors and artists. If my covers look like something you'd like, I'd be happy to share the artists contact details. If you share more about your writing (Genre/target age group... etc) people might have better suggestions for you.

    Cheers-
    Steve
     
  3. Hayden Smith
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    Hayden Smith New Member

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    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for this. I think your point holds fast with regard to copyeditors at least. The truth is, my novel (for adults) could fall into a number of genres, but I am hoping to have it reviewed by an experienced beta-reader in the near future who should be able to pigeon-hole it more concisely than myself (it has elements of thriller, romance, and erotica). If this rather broad profile inhibits copyediting recommendations, so be it; I can still investigate cover design and formatting pending a more specific categorization. I should also clarify that I am open to suggestions of foreign freelancers with regard to these latter phases. I do indeed like your jacket designs, and while I conceive my own cover, by contrast, to be very overt, I'd still appreciate having your artist's contact details on record.
     
  4. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Broad descriptions don't hurt for copyediting, they hurt for the more macro level edits, just b/c you want someone experienced in that genre to help you. I think it's a mistake to rely on a beta reader to determine genre. They're going to spend a few hours with your book. You've spent months. What book would you compare it to? How is that book classified. Think of the last 20 books you've read that are similar to it, and look at how they're classified.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you're looking for people who can actually deliver good, valuable work, I have a feeling 1-2k isn't gonna be enough... I mean, an editor can be anything from £400-£1000 depending on your book length and of course who you go with. (I had one quote me $4000 for my 81k-word novel - though that's not for copyediting but for line-by-line editing)

    Well I know nothing and haven't ever self-published before, so wait for someone with more knowledge to comment. But at a glance, 1-2k doesn't feel like it's gonna be enough if you wanna hire truly good people for the jobs.
     
  6. Hayden Smith
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    Hayden Smith New Member

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    Steve: For what it's worth, said beta-reader will also be an experienced author, and I won't be so much relying on them to categorize my work as to gauge my own ideas. My rationale is that their detachment, and hence greater objectivity, should prove useful here; it may be that a particular genre strikes them as predominant, with elements I perceive to be undercurrents appearing to them more pronounced, or vice versa.

    Thanks for your contribution, Mckk. I too have found some scary quotes, but I'm hoping my budget can stretch to 2k if need be, and some firms offer a reduced rate if you invest in all phases with them. I've found some reasonable deals floating around, but I've resolved to only invest in reputable companies/freelancers - hence my fishing for others' recommendations.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    info re the high price of editing offered above is valid, hayden... the whole amount won't even cover a 'simple edit' [for typos and minor grammar goofs only] and formatting by a good professional editor...

    i am speaking from 'the inside' as i am one and i do provide writing services occasionally, though i mostly do free mentoring... and even at the heavily discounted rates i can offer, since i don't have to do it for a living, 2k would fall below my lowest rate for a full-sized novel ms...

    and if you settle for a 'cheap' offer, i can guarantee you won't be getting a good edit...

    as for cover art, i don't know what good artists charge these days, but i can't see it being less than several hundred, which will be a big bite out of that 2k...

    finally, i think it's against site rules/policy to be soliciting writing service providers... you'd best check the site rules and be prepared to have the thread locked or deleted...

    meanwhile, welcome aboard!... and i wish you success with your book...
    love and hugs, maia
     
  8. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    save yourself a fortune and learn to edit your own work - just keep going over it for every single typo and grammatical error, keep polishing as you go. With regards artwork, there are tons of freelancers who will do that for you for a credit in your book - they are trying to get their names out there too and the more credits they have the better for them. Also you get free or very cheap quality artwork.

    You can also set a prize £50 say, advertise the topic (your genre) on the likes of DeviantArt, you'll be surprised how many people will try win 50 quid!

    As for formatting, kindle etc use pdf - you can do that for free to here - http://www.theessentialebooker.com/publish_your_ebook/readers/

    Et voila - save yourself a fortune!
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Hmm, any artist worth the money certainly won't do it for free, and Hayden seems - and rightly so - to want only reputable people who can produce quality work. Quality work doesn't come cheap - artists *know* when their work is good, it's silly to think you can cheat artists. Unlike writing, art takes a fair bit more time. I draw and paint a little myself and I'm by no means a pro at all, and even *I* wouldn't do artwork for free, whereas I would write articles for free.

    Or perhaps to put it in perspective, see it this way - if a writer wouldn't hand out a short story or novella for free, then neither would an artist hand over a wonderful piece of art that took her anything between 5-20 hours to make - and the higher the quality and detail, the longer it takes, of course.

    With the competition idea - I'd be careful with that. You'd need to word your terms and conditions pretty carefully, spelling out the fact that you're taking over all rights of the work when the work is submitted, and that the artist gives you full rights to distribute it for profit without any royalties. The key here is "distribute it for profit/commercial purposes" - it's not just using the artwork but you're making money off of it, without a single penny to the artist. Somehow I don't think a great many artists would enter if these terms were spelt out - and if the terms were *not* spelt out, I seriously think you might get a law suit on your hands. Check with a copyrights lawyer before you go for this, I say, Hayden!

    ^if ever there were such terms in any art competition, I'd call it a scam, btw. It's basically conning artists out of their work. Imagine if a publisher bought your book, gave you credit with your name on it, and never paid you a penny - if that were the terms of the contract, you'd call it a scam too.

    Kindle, however, is a good idea.
     
  10. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    ok mckk - you know everything.

    I have used deviantart, set 50 euro contests and like I said, you'd be surprised how many people put forward work to try win the 50 quid!

    While many wouldn't bother their arse (and I dont blame the) tons more do!

    Take a look around their site and see the quality of the work. If you want better art, put the prize up. Simples!
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    There's no need to get sarcastic. I'm not saying people won't go for a 50 euro competition - plenty would. The problem is when the work is then used commercially, for profit. Unless the artist has surrendered all rights and actually permits you to use it for profit without a single penny into their own pockets, while you make money off of it, you are liable to get sued. And I'm saying if a competition had those terms, well, perhaps there're people out there who would go for it - some people would do anything for money - but anyone who's proud of their work probably wouldn't.

    My point is not in the competition - but in trying to acquire a piece of artwork by holding a competition and then using that piece of work without sending the artist any royalties due to him/her based on the profits you got by using that piece of artwork. These are legal issues, maybe I'm wrong, I'm no lawyer - but it's an area that I'd rather check out with a lawyer before embarking.
     
  12. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Oh, man, okay, listen, if you're going the traditional route, a lot of the advice above is good. Edit it yourself. Learn as much as you can. Get a copy of, or a subscription to, CMoS, use Merriam Websters, and yeah, polish the heck out of it before you send it to agents/pubilshers.

    BUT, if you self publish, you need to hire an editor. You will not be able to publish your own work to the standard of your competition if you don't.

    As for cover art, you generally get what you pay for. I've seen people get pretty good covers from Fiver.com but for every one that has been good, I've seen thousands I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Deviant Art might be a place to get some discounts, but again, the top artists are the top artists for a reason. They know what it takes to produce for the publishing industry, they are reliable, they are professional... That's not saying some of the new, hungry artists aren't too, but for me, I wouldn't want to be the first just because you might run through a few duds before you found one that works.

    I totally think when you self publish you need a budget, but that budget has to be realistic. If you can only afford $1000 for editing/design, I'd suggest waiting until you can afford more. But that's just me. These are just opinions. But editing, that is not an opinion. Even if your storytelling is superb and you're characters are flawless and your dialogue is just incredible, you still need a copyedit.

    Editing and design are the two places self published authors get beat up on over and over.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you are self publishing, you clearly think you know enough to compete with traditional publishing. That should mean you can edit your own work as well. That is not an extraordinary expectation for a writer; it's a simple matter of writing competence.

    It would be beyond foolish to blow your budget on professional editing.
     
  14. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the OP's based in Scotland I'd guess he's got up to 2000 pounds rather than dollars - which still isn't necessarily enough for a professional editor, but is still a chunk more to play with.

    If you're going to go with Deviant Art, rather than run a competition I'd probably just browse until you find someone whose style you like and offer them some cash to make you a pretty. Do your own research about file requirements - if they've not done covers before, there's no guarantee they'll know what you need. And take Mckk's advice and make sure you've got something in writing about what rights to the image you're buying.

    If you do run a competition, go to 99 Designs and do it there - the whole point of the site is that you put up cash, and people submit work. You pick the best and only pay them. I have no idea why any designer uses it because it'll almost always be an epic waste of their time, but loads do, and some of the people on there are pretty good. You can also look up running contests and see what quality of work you get for varying amounts of cash.

    As for editing... I'm going to be called a pariah now, but I don't think it's the be-all-and-end-all most people on this thread do. It is perfectly possible to bring a book up to the standard the general public is happy with for a $2-5 e-book yourself. If you can't afford a good professional editor, you're going to be better off doing it yourself rather than paying a bad professional editor to do it. The editing standards of even trad published books aren't always high. Did you ever have any Wordsworth Classics paperbacks? If they were proofread at all, it was by a drunk hamster. I had a copy of The Great Gatsby with a paragraph from an entirely different book in the middle of it.

    Save some of your money for marketing. The world's best editor and the world's prettiest cover won't make people buy your book if no bugger knows it's there.
     
  15. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Cogito, I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about. Traditional publishers use editors. Without exception, they use editors. Stephen King's books are edited by professional editors. It would be beyond foolish to think that you, as a self publisher, could produce a finished product that is comparable quality to a traditionally published book, without putting it through a similar production schedule as your competition.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Editors are used in traditional publishing only for minor touch up. The publisher fully expects the author to present a clean manuscript.

    An editor who does much more than that will generally do more damage than improvements.

    As for Stephen King, have you READ anything by him recently? He could USE a good editor! But his books bring in money by the truckload anyway, so woe be to the publisher who suggests changes!

    If you cannot present a publish ready manuscript, you are not ready to publish, self or otherwise.
     
  17. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Cogito, I suppose your experience in the industry is very different from mine. In my experience, the production schedule for a book at a traditional publishing house is quite extensive. Many rounds of edits, multiple editors. Here is just one link on the subject: http://www.rachellegardner.com/2012/05/what-does-the-editing-process-look-like/

    Oh, and Stephen Kings posts online quite a lot, and he frequently talks about how he appreciates his editors. The only traditionally published author I know of who refuses anything beyond copyedits, is Anne Rice, she's quite outspoken about it.

    The point is, when you self publish you wear two hats. You are a writer, and a publisher. You need to take the manuscript you write, and put it through a production schedule that compares to big publishing. You need to have it designed (inside and out) you need to have it edited, you need to make decisions about book size, and what kind of distribution you want.

    When people stop looking at self publishing like it's a DIY project, the quality will rise, and any lingering stigma will fade. At least that's what I believe.






     
  18. lettuce head
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    lettuce head Active Member

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    So, Stephen King is not ready to publish? Get real.
     
  19. lettuce head
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    lettuce head Active Member

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    Self publishing is exploding and with it comes a huge number of ebooks and paperbacks that are below the standard publishing quality level. Low quality can hurt the process for everyone. It is important to do whatever you can to produce a quality product. Editing, design and distribution are best done in a professional manner. If you can't do it yourself, pay someone to do it. It matters.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all arguments aside, the fact remains that money you pay to an editor is [in all but extremely rare cases] money flushed down the loo, because it won't be recouped from book sales... and that applies equally, to traditional or self-publishing...
     
  21. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Mammamaia, I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you're saying. It sounds like you're saying editing is a waste. As in, publishers are throwing their money away when they edit their books. Is that what you're saying?
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no, i'm referring only to writers hiring their own editors... not the editors who work for publishing houses and edit the author's book before printing...

    what i meant about 'equally' is that if you hire an editor to fix up your ms before you submit it to an agent or publisher, that money will not be recouped from book sales... and even if your ms is accepted/published by a traditional publisher, the odds are that you won't make enough from book sales to equal what it cost to have it edited...

    the bottom line is that even the best possible edit will not guarantee an agent or publisher will take on your book... no matter how much it cost you, or how good the editor is, you'll still have to beat the astronomical odds against a new and unknown writer's first book ever being published...

    is it clear now?
     
  23. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Yeah, it's clear. I don't think I agree though. I'm not saying it's wise to use an editor if you're going the traditional route. I don't think it's necessary for that. But you're talking about recouping a couple thousand dollars (for a comprehensive edit), and the low end advance from a traditional publisher that an agent would deal with is still about $10,000, so you'd recoup the investment (again, not saying it's a wise investment, just that you'd earn more than the cost of the edit).

    Totally agree that professional edits don't equal sales to publishing houses. But, I will say that not editing your book if you're a self published author, is pretty good way to get beat up by readers in their reviews, and a damn fine way to show a lack of professionalism.

    Again, just to be clear, I wouldn't use an editor if I was going to go the traditional route. It's not necessary. But self publishing route, yeah, it's necessary, in my opinion.
     
  24. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Whatever happened to the good old days when writers knew how to spell? How to write grammatically-correct sentences? How to punctuate reasonably? Getting SPaG right should happen automatically during the writing of the first draft. (That's a rather weak and ugly sentence, and normally I'd change it, but I'm in the midst of making a point here!) The writer should be able to proofread and correct his own work, and should therefore be able to submit a virtually perfect manuscript to the agent or publisher, simply as a matter of course. It's part of the job. It's the most basic part of the job. It's the simplest, least complicated, most rule-based part of the job.

    Why do so many young writers seem to want to make it somebody else's job? Why are they willing to pay somebody else to do it? It's embarrassing. It's like paying somebody else to wipe their butts for them.

    Proofread and correct your own work, people! It's a matter of pride!

    /rant
     
  25. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Listen to this man. He speaks the truth.
     

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